Following my “looks like feels like” presentation yesterday, which is the penultimate presentation of our thesis prototype (It’s almost over!), I walked away with both relief and worry. First the relief: the deck itself was captivating according to many people in the room, the narrative I struck from the get-go is powerful and strikes to the civics illiteracy problem we have in America and how a digital solution that I create will help incrementally alleviate it.

As for the product itself, POLLY, there are still some unresolved issues. One of them is the rewards structure. Our guest critic, our former…


In exploring the ‘5 E’s’ I am able to get a better grasp of the user’s journey before, during and after using the POLLY app.


In the past two days I conducted user tests with the target group of seven high schoolers as well as two millennials. I started off by briefly explaining the POLLY app, what it is and what my goals are for the users. I passed out paper prototypes and then moved to the laptop where I had an Invision Studio proto they could click through. I recorded all of the conversations on my phone and went back afterwards to transcribe them. …


My thesis project, a quiz based civic knowledge app called POLLY, is finally at a stage and fidelity where I can user test with a more concrete notion of what the features of the app do and how it flows. The following is my plan on how to work with the users, mostly local high school students.

User Testing Plan

How will you test your current prototype with users?

Through print outs and clickable prototype on my laptop and iPhone

Where will you find these users?

Local high school students, friends, classmates. Aiming for at least 8 high school students.

How will you…


Wikimedia / donatas1205 / Billion Photos / vgeny Karandaev / The Atlantic

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

-Aristotle

As I round the thesis bend, not quite seeing the finish line yet but sensing it fast approaching, I understand that to have a plan that gets me exponentially closer to a solid resolution will make this last semester focusing almost exclusively on my thesis a truly rewarding experience.

I am at the point where my product POLLY has numerous features, as outlined in my IDEAS_CRITERIA_Matrix from last week. There likely is a need to narrow down some of them although each have a reason for existing based on…


Iterating on the value proposition/pitch for my product POLLY has been more difficult than I imagined. It needs to be clear, direct, appealing, succinct. It shouldn’t sound phony, cliché, tired. When you look at something for so long and iterate so many times, cynicism creeps up constantly, making you think everything you write sounds phony. Moving words around helps. Enlisting the help of friends, colleagues and teachers gets you ever so closer. The bottom line is an effective pitch can breathe life into a product or idea.

A few weeks ago we listened to the original pitch that the founder…


POLLY — Idea+Criteria Matrix

For this week’s thesis assignment, we were tasked with creating a matrix seeing how ideas and criteria (for users as well as what we personally wish to accomplish) intersect in order for to help us either eliminate non-critical concepts or double down on ones we realize are essential.

For my ideas, I have listed more of a list of features that my political app POLLY could have. The hard part for me is that this long process has produced a multitude of features and ideas. Most of them have validity to them. For user needs, I listed every single criteria…


Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)

“I’ve been saying for the longest time one reason this country is in such a mess is because we are politically illiterate. And one reason for that is that we don’t teach civics anymore in school. CIVICS! 14 kids in Providence, Rhode Island sued their school for not teaching them civics. They said, “You are not preparing us for living in democracy.””

-Bill Maher — Real Time with Bill Maher - 1.25.19 (HBO)


I have the good fortune of having a very smart thesis advisor in the form of my good friend Richard from R/GA. We sat down last week to discuss my thesis POLLY, a civics education app for high school “pre-voters” so that they are more prepared, engaged, empowered, willing to vote when the time comes.

I will just list some of the advice I received and what we discussed:

  • Keep the info to short byte-sized chunks…short, snack-sized sprints.
  • Everyone is inundated with information. …

The beginning of my final semester in grad school is here. Last we left off, it was mid-December and I had just presented my thesis concept at mid-point stage. It went OK but not great. Honestly, I was in a sullen and tired state of mind afterwards. At the time, the comments from the audience of classmates, former IxD students as well as professors and professionals in the field felt very critical and I felt I had to ostensibly start over. The three or so weeks off was much needed. I needed to decompress and not think about my thesis…

Addi Hou

I am a Product Designer in both the physical and digital realms. I have always loved writing too, so feel free to read my intermittent musings here.

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